Tampa Bay Rays First Round Mock Draft Selections


Sep 18, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman before the game against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 Major League Baseball draft is tonight and as with every draft in the four major sports, a number of mock drafts are floating around.

The big difference with the baseball draft is that teams rarely tend to draft for immediate needs, as the player selected won’t see big league action for at least a couple of years, if not longer.

With that in mind, teams tend to take the best player available and allow them to improve through their minor league system.

Of course, there’s also no guarantee that the player the Tampa Bay Rays draft will even sign with the team, which may affect who they do draft.

Below are a number of mock picks for what the Rays and Andrew Friedman will do with the 20th overall pick:

Jonathan Mayo (MLB.com): Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS (Calif.)
Several high school position players have been mentioned, including Monte Harrison and Hill. Gatewood has the most raw power in this class, and the chance of him being an impact player might be too much for the Rays to pass up.

Jim Callis (MLB.com): Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
Zimmer is the best athlete among this year’s collegians and wouldn’t be available here if he hadn’t slumped. Most of the players linked to Tampa Bay are college products who could move quickly through a flagging farm system, including Beede, Gillaspie and Finnegan. If the Rays are willing to wait on high schoolers, they could choose Hill, Gatewood or Harrison.

Jon Heyman (CBS): Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
Beede has a big arm, and after passing on a Blue Jays offer of $2.5 million three years ago, and switching agents multiple times, he may get a few pennies more if he goes here. He’s a hard thrower but he had “questionable command,” and “inconsistent secondary stuff.” Atlanta area HS shortstop Michael Chavis also has been linked to them.

Dave Perkin (SI.com): Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State
It’s simple: Tampa Bay needs offense. The Rays are 11th in the AL this season in homers, 13th in runs scored and 13th in OPS. Tampa Bay will not have a large array of hitters to choose from here, but Gillaspie may be the best available. This season, he hit 15 homers with a .389/.520/.682 line.

Steve Garrity and Tucker Stobbe (Draftsite.com through USA Today): Monte Harrison, OF, Lee’s Summit (Mo.) West High
The Rays like high school players with upside, so we’ll stick with that trend. Harrison is a University of Nebraska wide receiver commit whose talent on the diamond will have him going in the first round.

The MLB draft is always unpredictable and that’s highlighted here in this small sample size. Five analysts, five different picks for the Rays at No.20.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, where I’ll be tweeting the 2014 Draft and what the Rays do tonight.